Police searches in dead birds probe in Ross-shire

Red kite Most of the dead birds are red kites

Police have been carrying out searches in an area where 19 birds of prey have been found dead.

The dead raptors have been found in one part of Ross-shire in the past two weeks, with tests confirming 12 were poisoned.

Police Scotland said officers were searching in the Conon Brae area as part of inquiries into the deaths.

A spokeswoman said landowners in the area were co-operating with the operation.

Fourteen red kites and five buzzards have been found dead. Tests have shown nine kites and three buzzards had eaten a poisonous substance.

RSPB Scotland said "a dignified public protest" over the deaths would be held in Inverness city centre on Saturday afternoon.

Dead bird of prey Three of the dead buzzards were found to have eaten poison
Dead red kite The birds have been found in the past two weeks

A reward for information following the deaths has also increased to £26,000 after a £12,000 donation from farmers and landowners and money sent in from the public.

The £12,000 donation has been made by members of Scottish Land & Estates and NFU Scotland.

The RSPB initially put up a £5,000 reward.

This was doubled by an anonymous donation, with further pledges coming from members of the public.

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